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Fairway City Council votes to not extend mask mandate

Face Mask
Posted at 10:06 PM, Feb 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-14 23:55:29-05

FAIRWAY, Kan. — The Fairway City Council voted Monday to not extend a mask mandate, as local governments continue to navigate their role in mitigating pandemic risk.

Prior to the 4-2 vote, robust discussion unfolded at the Fairway City Hall.

"Our neighbors in Roeland Park and Prairie Village have both extended their mask mandates another month, that doesn’t seem it makes a tangible impact or burden on our staff," Councilmember Jenna Brofsky, who represents ward 4, said.

One resident who spoke at the meeting said the Fairway City Council should not look at what other surrounding cities are doing when making masking decisions.

"I don’t think we’ve solved the pandemic in Fairway, I think it’s largely become a philosophical thing, but I agree with not having to look at a couple of other cities as to what’s right for Fairway," the resident said.

Mayor Melanie Hepperly was in favor of letting the current mandate in expire on Feb. 18.

"[We should] Rely upon our citizens to make the right choice, and I really do believe they are responsible individuals and they’ll do the right thing," Hepperly said.

The role of school districts mitigating the pandemic is evolving as well.

On Monday, the Blue Valley School District dropped its mask mandate for students and staff.

On the Missouri side of the state line, Independence and North Kansas City schools dropped their requirements as well. Shawnee Mission schools could soon follow.

With cases dropping in the Kansas City area, health leaders say they're not at zero yet.

"The number of hospitalizations of omicron across the country is just under the peak of any other wave," Dr. Steve Stites, the chief medical officer at the University of Kansas Health System, said "So it's not like it's gone away. We still have a whole lot of COVID going on."